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Romance of the Highlands draws couples

By Calum MacLeod

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Inverness was the most searched for Scottish location for holidaying couples.
Inverness was the most searched for Scottish location for holidaying couples.

With foreign travel curtailed by Covid, the Highland capital is ousting Paris and Venice as the romantic destination of choice for British couples.

The city, along with St Andrews, was the most searched for Scottish location on HomeToGo, the world's largest holiday rental search engine, for couples seeking a short break, with Inverness seeing a 108 per cent increase in searches.

Lone travellers preferred to look further west, with Skye and Mull their top destinations of choice, while groups opted for Loch Lomond and Ayrshire.

While the UK is set to re-introduce limited international travel through its green list of potential destinations, HomeToGo reports Scotland is the country attracting the bulk of short break bookings from soaring levels of UK travellers and the Highlands one of the most sought after destinations.

While HomeToGo's holiday rentals search engine showed a 255 per cent increase in searches for Scottish holiday homes in comparison with the same period in 2019, searches for Highland destinations shot up by 811.59 per cent. Only Fife showed a bigger increase, up by 989.16 per cent on 2019 figures.

Caroline Burns, travel expert at HomeToGo, said that studies had identified beach breaks and stays in nature the top preference for UK holidaymakers, making Scotland a natural choice.

"With wild coasts and unspoiled natural landscapes, it’s easy to see how Scotland’s tourism offering corresponds to these traveller preferences," she said.

However, while Inverness might be the top choice to take your romantic partner, for those planning on holidaying with a four-legged friend, Speyside is the main draw.

Ms Burns added: “We know that a lot of holidaymakers are now looking for trips where they can bring their dogs, for which Scotland is a great choice due to its accessibility, beautiful wide open spaces, and plentiful pets-allowed accommodation.

"In fact, the town of Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park is one of the UK’s most dog-friendly destinations, with 32 per cent of the Aviemore lettings available through HomeToGo listed as permitting pets.”

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